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McNally Smith College of Music 25th Anniversary

McNally Smith Says “Thank You” for 25 Years with 25 Community Music Events

It’s never too early to celebrate a good thing. McNally Smith College of Music began celebrating 25 years of contemporary music education in August 2010 by helping to host and sponsor the National Poetry Slam Competition. This competition is the first in a series of events — actually 25 — that the college will help bring to the Twin Cities community in honor of its anniversary.

A large part of the success of McNally Smith and the success of its students is that the college is invested and embedded in the Twin Cities’ music scene – both current and future. Student and faculty ensembles perform throughout the Cities sharing the college’s passion for music with the surrounding community. Class sessions and “final exams” frequently take place at area venues. It seems only fitting that any celebration the school conducts would have to include the Twin Cities Community.

25th Anniversary Music Event Schedule

  1. National Poetry Slam Competition
  2. Concrete and Grass Music Festival
  3. Hope Chest Fundraiser
  4. McNally Smith Radio and Progressive Media Group Launch Party
  5. SoundCrawl
  6. Minnesota Career Colleges Association Annual Conference
  7. McNally Smith Singers Perform at the State Capitol
  8. Sound Bite Concert Series
  9. Annual Fall Blood Drive
  10. Bells and Whistles – Holiday Airport Performances
  11. Jimi Hendrix Tribute Concert – Are you Experienced?
  12. Cities 97 Sampler
  13. Live at Five Faculty Concert Series
  14. Career Day
  15. McNally Smith Holiday Party
  16. Emerging Artist Performance Series
  17. Sing Out! McNally Smith Choirs Concert
  18. Anniversary Commencement Ceremonies
  19. St. Paul Winter Carnival
  20. Online Music Contest
  21. Founders’ Dinner
  22. St. Paul Connections Workshop
  23. McNally Smith Partnership Reception
  24. Artist in Residency
  25. Bringin’ It Back: McNally Smith Reunion 2011

Two Guitarists and a Warehouse

Jack McNally and Doug Smith both taught at the MacPhail Center for the Arts for eight years. Both continued to be frustrated by the general disregard for contemporary music as a serious art form. It was this frustration and a desire to give students something better that led them to open the Guitar Center of Minneapolis on December 7, 1985.

Located in the warehouse district, the school started with 130 private lesson students. Over the next decade, majors were added, accreditation was granted, and the school grew by leaps and bounds. By 1998, the institution was called Music Tech and was bursting at the seams. After two years of searching for more space, the college chose the current campus in Saint Paul and became McNally Smith College of Music.

1. National Poetry Slam Competition
McNally Smith proudly joined other St. Paul venues in hosting and sponsoring the National Poetry Slam Competition, which took place in the McNally Smith auditorium and other Saint Paul locations August 2-5, 2010.

2. Concrete and Grass Music Festival
McNally Smith was excited to announce their continued support of the 2010 Concrete and Grass Music Festival. The annual music festival, located in Mears Park and the Lowertown neighborhood of St Paul, featured dozens of live performances on outdoor stages by local and national acts and, as always, was free and open to the public.

3. Hope Chest Fundraising Event
Joining the Fitzgerald Theatre for an evening of food and entertainment, McNally Smith welcomed the Hope Chest and their guests to campus this past September to host a fundraising Gala, raising money for breast cancer research.

4. MSCM Radio and Progressive Media Group Launch Party
McNally Smith launched its on-campus radio station, MSCM Radio, and a Progressive Media Group, the PMG. The launch party, which took place in the McNally Smith Sound Bite Cafe on September 21 2010, featured a live web broadcast launch of the Radio Station, and highlighted current PMG student projects.

5. SoundCrawl
Because every Art Crawl needs a soundtrack! On October 8, McNally Smith, in partnership with TPT, MPR, presented SoundCrawl. Free and open to the public, McNally Smith welcomed all guests to this twelve-hour, free festival of new music; bringing a musical component and audience to the infamous St Paul Art Crawl.

6. MCCA Annual Conference
In October, McNally Smith welcomed the Minnesota Career Colleges Association back to campus for an annual conference. Guest speakers, networking opportunities, and breakouts sessions rounded out this event.

7. McNally Smith Singers Perform at the State Capitol
The McNally Smith Singers, made up of most of the first year students from all walks of McNally Smith College of Music, experienced the choral tradition with popular song. Over 200 freshmen, more than half of whom had never been in any kind of choir or vocal performance, “came together” (the theme for this semester) to light up the Capitol Rotunda with song. The performance was free and open to the public.

8. Sound Bite Concert Series
A series of unplugged concerts; McNally Smith welcomes artists from the local music scene to perform acoustic acts for students and the Twin Cities community. Concerts are free and open to the public.

McNally Smith Sound Bite Café
Concerts announced and presented throughout the Fall and Spring Semesters

9. Annual Fall Blood Drive
Partnering with Memorial Blood Center, the McNally Smith community continued the tradition of its Fall Blood Drive on November 10th.

10. “Bells and Whistles” – Holiday Airport Performances
McNally Smith College of Music was proud to partner with the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport through the MSP Arts and Culture Program to bring lively musical performances to warm the hearts of travelers throughout the 2010 holiday travel season. The November to December performance series, Bells and Whistles, featured McNally Smith students – with the common goal of making everyone’s holiday travels just a little bit brighter.

11. Jimi Hendrix Tribute Concert – “Are You Experienced?”
Through the use of looping multiple guitar parts, feedback and octave-detuned vocals, McNally Smith faculty members Jerry Kosak (guitar), Steve Faison (vocals), Charles Fletcher (bass), and Dave Schmalenberger (drums) will present the album, “Are You Experienced?” live, as an homage to Jimi Hendrix.

McNally Smith Auditorium – November 17th; 7pm
Free and Open to the Public

12. Cities 97 Sampler
On November 18, 33,000 copies of Cities Sampler Volume 22 sold out in just under 2 hours 2010 raising $800,000 for Minnesota Charities. McNally Smith College of Music is a proud sponsor of this annual project.

13. Live at Five Concert Series
Concert series featuring McNally Smith faculty, beginning with a reception at 5pm, followed by a 6pm concert. All concerts in the series are free and open to the public, McNally Smith Auditorium.

  • Jeremy Messersmith – November 30th
  • Ric Oliva – January 18th
  • Jennifer & Shon Parker – February 15th
  • Judi Donaghy – March 29th
  • Dessa Darling – April 19th

14. Career Day
One of many ways that McNally Smith provides educational outreach to MN public schools, Career Day offers high school students a look into building a life in music once a semester. A day of performances, hands-on instruction and presentations in Recording Technology, Music Business, and Music Performance.

McNally Smith Campus – occurs once a semester
Schools can contact Erin McLennon (Outreach Manager) to register.

15. McNally Smith Holiday Party
In December, McNally Smith faculty and staff came together to ring in the holiday season and celebrate as a thank you for their service and dedication.

16. Emerging Artist Series
Student ensembles gig off campus at venues throughout the Twin Cities. A diverse range of genres are represented throughout the concert series. Come and support new talent! Free and open to the public.

December 2010 & April 2011
Visit the McNally Smith blog or our News & Events page for details

17. Sing Out!
The MSC Singers, an ensemble featuring 200 McNally Smith student voices, performs at the historic Fitzgerald Theatre. Also featuring performances by the Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, Sonic, the World Vocal Ensemble, and the Musical Theatre Ensemble.

December 2010 & April 2011
Visit the McNally Smith blog or our News & Events page for details

18. Anniversary Commencement Ceremonies
Honoring the McNally Smith Graduates of our anniversary year. Unique regalia will be added to recognize the landmark in our history. December 2010 & April 2011

19. Saint Paul Winter Carnival
In collaboration with the Saint Paul Winter Carnival (Jan 27 – Feb 6th, 2011), McNally Smith’s laptop marching band, Laptopia, will be performing at this year’s carnival festivities. McNally Smith also will proudly host multi-cultural events on campus during the wintry celebrations.

20. “Express Your Talent” Online Music Contest
Express Your Talent is an online contest powered by McNally Smith College of Music. This contest is designed empower youth to create a video piece showcasing their musical talent, whatever it may be. Submissions will be accepted between January 1, 2011 and February 14, 2011. Start working on your videos now!

Click here to learn more about the contest.

21. Founders’ Dinner
McNally Smith wouldn’t be celebrating 25 years without the vision of its founders. The Founders’ Dinner is a formal dinner to honor and recognize the founders and their guests. See a slideshow from the event at the McNally Smith Flickr.

22. Saint Paul Connections Workshops
In partnership with St Paul Connections, McNally Smith hosts workshops for St Paul high school students. Students choose from either training in Garage Band, Guitar, or Hip Hop Production. (January – April 2011)

23. Partner Reception
McNally Smith will hold its Partner Reception to honor and thank organizations that have partnered with McNally Smith throughout the years. Guests, along with McNally Smith faculty and staff, will celebrate with an evening of refreshments and music. (March 2011)

24. Artist in Residency
McNally Smith welcomes Artist in Residency, Dessa Darling, for a series of guest lectures and performances. Open to all McNally Smith students, faculty, and staff.

Multiple calendar dates
Visit the McNally Smith blog or our News & Events page for details

25. Bringin’ It Back: McNally Smith Reunion 2011
A weekend of reunions, food, and great music; McNally Smith will welcome back alumni and include the entire McNally Smith community in the celebration! (June 2011)